Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Morden about to become a full-fledged city

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Manitoba will soon have its own Twin Cities.

Morden is about to become the province's ninth city. It joins Winkler, about 10 kilometres down the road, which became a city in 2002.

The threshold to become a city in Manitoba is 7,500 people. Morden reached 7,812 people in the recent 2012 Canada census.

"As far as council is concerned, (applying for city status) is a no-brainer," said Mayor Ken Wiebe.

"The town has evolved from a water tower for Canadian Pacific Railway (with water drawn from Dead Horse Creek) to a town right now that the census says is 7,812 people, but we figure it's 8,100 already, just by the number of immigrants we got last year."

Council sent out a newsletter last year canvassing residents, and more than 50 per cent of respondents preferred Morden remain a town.

Wiebe told the Free Press in an interview last December he was undecided. The mayor's wife, Linda, strongly supported not becoming a city.

But Morden town council recently voted unanimously to apply to the province for city status.

Wiebe, who denied the rumour (started by the Free Press) he is sleeping in the basement these days, said people became more supportive of city status once the actual census figures came out. The business community is all for it, too.

"We've talked to business people and not one businessperson said no. If business people are behind it, you have to give it serious consideration," said Wiebe.

"I think it's a good marketing tool and it will help us grow and have a positive effect on the whole community."

Approval is expected to come quickly once the legislature resumes sitting in a couple of weeks.

They may be twin cities soon, but both Morden and Winkler are growing closer into one large metropolis.

Both have annexed land about 1.5 kilometres closer to each other from the RM of Stanley to accommodate expansion.

More expansion is expected along the highway corridor between the two communities.

People can name most of Manitoba's cities, but the one that escapes many is Flin Flon. It has just 5,600 people but had previously met criteria for city status under terms grandfathered when the new Municipal Act passed in 1997.


Delta Marsh artist dies


One of Manitoba's great painters, Peter Ward of Delta Marsh, died last week after a brief illness at the age of 92.

Ward had studied in New York as a young man and painted Delta Marsh landscapes. He was known for his intricate detailing of waterfowl flying over Lake Manitoba horizons.

The Free Press profiled Ward in December as one of the evacuees from around Lake Manitoba who still could not return home after last spring's flooding. However, he still travelled to the marsh every day to paint until illness prevented him.

His grandkids liked to point out Ward backwards spells draw and that's what their grandpa did for eight decades.

"Delta will never be the same without Peter," said Don Clarkson, president of the Delta Beach Association.


Some coincidence, baby


Mandy Hordyski of Libau emailed to say she had a similar story to that of Rob and Desiree Kennedy of La Broquerie, who gave birth in their bathroom two weeks ago. An emergency dispatcher talked the Kennedys through the sudden birth of their daughter, Maggie.

In Mandy Hordyski's case, seven years ago she gave birth alone in the bathtub.

But Mandy wanted to pass on this information to the Kennedys: "Shortly after my daughter's birth, we received a call from the provincial 911 service asking us if we would like a copy of the recorded call from that night. Of course we gladly accepted and that CD has to be one of my greatest treasures."

Rob and Desiree have not been able to reach the emergency operator to thank her.

The rural 911 dispatch service is headquartered in Brandon.

The director has not returned phone calls from both the Free Press and the province's health communications office for more than a week.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition April 2, 2012 A5

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